Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chess Diaries or Notebooks

Do you keep a chess diary, or chess notebook? How do you store your chess knowledge? Do you bother to store your chess knowledge? And is it advantageous to keep a notebook or diary? And if you were to keep a diary/notebook would it be a paper one or an online one?

It's an interesting topic, especially as much of what we play is stored either online, or in databases electronically. But what about keeping a notebook, or set of notebooks divided into different topics. Apparently super GM Yasser Seirawan filled over 30 notebooks in his career. And top coaches from around the world suggest the use of a notebook in your chess study. Here's an excellent article on exactly that subject, from UK GM Nigel Davies.

So let's assume for a second that keeping a notebook is a good thing. What would or should your notebook contain? Davies seems to talk in terms of individually tailored chess wisdom, while Seirawan seems to prefer different themes specifically documented. I guess, in the end, it would be down to the individual, with some guidance from a stronger player or coach. I don't think there is anything wrong with making it whatever you want:

a series of games that have impressed you

positions that interest you or that have pushed your ideas of thinking

a record of your games and ideas and progress

opening notes

tactical themes

endgame ideas

strategic or positional ideas

things that interest you about chess ie history, news, biography etc

In fact, writing a blog is a bit like writing a journal. However, I must admit to missing using pen and paper, while a gain a shine to my fingertips from the typing.

Anyway, if you do keep a notebook or journal or diary about chess, please let me know.

This was a position I posted yesterday. It is white to play and win. The key idea is the pawn break f3-f4-f5 which will eventually clear the way for the f7 pawn to promote. So white wants to move the king, but to where, or does it make a difference? The winning move here is 1.Ke3. The idea is to head white's king to the defence of black's queen side pawn majority as well as clearing the way for the f-pawn to advance. 1.Ke4 is also possible, but it is far less easy, and will rely on a winning queen ending which can be a bit messy. After 1..b5 2.cxb5 Kxb5 white's king is well placed to cut off black's c-pawn so the f-pawn can already be moved.

3.f4 now leaves black's king having to fall back to stop immediate promotion, but that will leave the white king to grab the c-pawn, and then the game.

This would be a nice position to put in a notebook under the heading of pawn endings, with perhaps a breakthrough theme.

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